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Print is the new Vinyl

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Print is the new Vinyl
Editorial by Wes “Rockwell” Anderson for ROCKwell UnScene MUSIC Magazine

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Obsolete, nostalgic, out-dated, old fashioned...all words to describe both vinyl records and printed music magazines. I am one of those people old enough to remember the coolest store in town and the Mecca of all things in the mall for music lovers was the record store. Now how many of those stores exist? Sam Goody...Virgin Records....Tower Records....countless mom & pop stores....the list is too long to fathom. I remember the 2 story Sam Goody at Horton Plaza in downtown San Diego in the 90‘s and early 2000‘s being the Taj Mahal of what was new in music & at the same time I had my own record store just 2 blocks away. Now neither exist. For those over age 20 living (or did live) in SoCal I just need to mention 1 store - Tower on Sunset. Record stores and records still exist - as a novelty or niche. The same can be said about printed music magazines.

If you’re over 30 years old and love music, you remember the days when you went to the bookstore in the mall to pick up your favorite music magazine - if the record store didn’t carry it. Now, if you go to the mall there are no bookstores except Barnes & Noble, and if they haven’t closed their doors yet, how many music magazines are there compared to 10-15 years ago? Virtually none - because why would you spend your money and time going to a store when you can get the content you want on your phone, tablet, or computer? The music magazines that are on the shelves are collecting dust because the kids who would buy them don’t even walk into the store - they already got the content on their phone.

So why do we print magazines? We know it’s obsolete. It’s extremely slow in a lightning fast media age. It’s very, very expensive - especially using the thick, high quality paper we use. We know that other printed magazines are collecting dust on the few shelves that are left for them to sit on. We know, just like vinyl, print will never make a come back big enough to replace the newest format to deliver music content. It’s old’s been reduced to a novelty. It’s fallen into the niche status - or in the corporate world - the no profit class.

We print for those people who still like vinyl records. If you’re one of these people you’re probably a lot like us. You like to look at and touch the art. You like to read what’s inside even before you drop the needle. You love the pictures. You love the packaging. You appreciate the product and don’t discard it like yesterdays newspaper. You collect it.

We’re photographers and writers first. We, and those who contribute to our magazine, create art that is timeless and collectable. That’s why our covers and interior paper is heavier and higher quality than even the collector editions of Rolling Stone. It’s built to last. Being the biggest print magazine in the world isn’t our number one goal and given the state of the printing industry, why would it be? Our first goal is being the best and in that we’ve come a long way. Of course I believe we are already the best and I know we are always getting better and striving for perfection. I also know that I’m obviously biased and only others and time can truly judge our art. Being the biggest fish in a small and dwindling pond isn’t really a goal worth striving for unless you put profit first. We’re not allergic to money and also need it to survive. Being the best and making a product worthy of collecting is our chosen path to do it. We know there’s millions of you who still love vinyl.